The South Carolina Association of CPAs and the IRS remind taxpayers who filed extensions that electronic filing and other options for help remain before the Oct. 15 deadline.
Taxpayers who have a valid extension and are in (or affected by) a federally declared disaster area may be allowed more time to file. Taxpayers in the eight South Carolina counties impacted by Hurricane Florence are among those who qualify for relief. Click here for the IRS’s guide for Hurricane Florence relief, and click here for SCACPA’s roundup of announcements that affect Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion and Marlboro counties.
It is still possible to e-file for the 2017 tax year. The IRS urges all taxpayers to choose the fast, accurate and secure convenience of e-filing. The IRS verifies the receipt of an e-filed return and those who choose to file electronically make fewer mistakes.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to carefully check their tax return before they file. Individuals may overlook certain credits, deductions or allowable expenses they qualify for such as:
- The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a benefit for low- and moderate-income workers and families. The EITC Assistant on IRS.gov can help taxpayers determine if they’re eligible;
- The Savers Credit for low- and moderate-income workers who contributed to a retirement plan, such as an IRA or 401(k). Individuals will need Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions, to claim the credit; and
- The American Opportunity Tax Credit, claimed on Form 8863, Education Credits (American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits), and other educational tax benefits for parents and college students.
- Other taxpayers, such as members of the military and some other groups serving in a combat zone, are allowed more time to file. Typically, these individuals have until 180 days after they leave the combat zone to both file returns and pay any taxes due.
Taxpayers with extensions should file their tax returns by Oct. 15 and, if they owe, pay as much as possible to reduce interest and penalties. IRS Direct Pay allows individuals to securely pay from their checking or savings accounts.
Taxpayers can also pay by debit or credit card. While the IRS does not charge a fee for this service, the payment processer will. Other payment options include the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (enrollment is required) and Electronic Funds Withdrawal which is available when e-filing. Taxpayers can also pay what they owe using the IRS2Go mobile app. Taxpayers will find information about all IRS payment options at IRS.gov/payments.
Individual taxpayers can go to IRS.gov/account and login to view their balance, payment history, pay their taxes and access tax records through Get Transcript. Before setting up an account, taxpayers should review Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools to make sure they have the information needed to verify their identities.
All taxpayers can use IRS Free File. This program offers two options: Brand-name software, offered by the IRS’s commercial partners to individuals and families with incomes of $66,000 or less; or online fillable forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms available for any income level.
The fastest and easiest way to get a refund is to e-file and use direct deposit. More than eight out of 10 taxpayers who receive refunds choose direct deposit. Individuals can choose to deposit their refunds into as many as three accounts. See Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases), for details.
Taxpayers who did not request an extension and have yet to file a 2017 tax return can generally avoid additional penalties and interest by filing the return as soon as possible and paying any balance due.
Of the 147.3 million returns received by the IRS through August 2018, about 88% — or 130 million — were e-filed.